Friday, June 01, 2007


Pike County Sheriff's Department Continues Search for Armed Robbery Suspect

A spokesperson for the Pike County Sheriff’s Department told EKB news early Friday morning, that they are searching for an armed robbery suspect. The sheriff’s department says that a person driving an older model white s-10 blazer attempted to rob a grocery store Thursday evening in the Stopover area. The owner pulled a gun out and the suspect fled. Tuesday night a man that was driving the description of the vehicle entered a gas station at Shelbiana and robbed the Three Way Autobahn. The suspect was armed with a pipe. About an hour later the man robbed another business near the Breaks Interstate Park. The suspect is also believed to have committed a robbery of a grocery store in Buchanan County, Virginia.


Investigation Continues to Identify person That Made Threatning Phone Call.

The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department has made little progress into identifying the caller that called into a Matewan business ,saying that everyone in a high school was going to die. Wednesday’s phone call caused the dismissal of all five of the county’s high schools and two middle schools. The sheriff’s department is attempting to track the origin of that threatening phone call. If anyone has any tips on this case contact the sheriff’s department at 235-0300.


Theft of Copper on the Rise.

Copper theft is on the rise in Mingo County. The Mingo County Sheriff’s Department has made several arrests over the last week. Joe Smith, with the sheriff’s department told us that thieves are climbing telephone poles, cutting telephone lines, and then they burn the coating that protects the copper. Smith added, that the criminals then take the copper to salvage yards , where they sell the copper. One person before he was apprehended cashed in $2,400. Smith says that theft of copper has increased dramatically over the past month. Smith says, that telephone wire is becoming a favorite target because there is no risk in being electrocuted and plus the price for copper is high. Smith says that if you believe someone is stealing copper. Contact the sheriff’s department at 235-0300.


Driver Error Caused Fatal Car Crash.

No charges have yet been filed in an automobile accident that claimed the life of a Varney resident. According to the crash report released, by the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department, driver error was the reason for the three vehicle collision that occurred earlier this week. Randy Lee Highlander, was traveling route 52 at Varney, Highlander took his eyes off the road to grab a cd. Highlander’s vehicle crossed the center line and struck a vehicle driven by Alkie Arlene Noe . Noe was pronounced dead at the scene. Highlander was transported to Williamson Memorial for non- life threatening injuries. The accident involved a third vehicle.The driver received no injuries. The accident is still under investigation.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Clean-Up Scheduled at Fish Trap Lake This Saturday.

Hundreds of volunteers will travel to Fishtrap Lake, this Saturday to give a helping hand, in the 12th Annual Friends of Fishtrap Lake Cleanup. Park Ranger, Nathan Shelton told us that volunteers will register at the dam. Darlene Thacker, President of Friends of Fishtrap Lake, will lead the challenge of removing litter from around the dam site, two recreational areas at Lick Creek and Grapevine, and the 1,131 acres around the 16 and a half mile lake. In 2005, 226 volunteers, removed 160 cubic feet of garbage. Anyone that would like to participate in the cleanup will need to register at the dam at 8am.


City of Pikeville Attempting to Expand.

Pikeville City Commissioners will meet June 13, for the second reading of an ordinance that will let residents of Lackens Branch to protest the city’s plan to annex. Property owners of Lackens Branch would have 60 days to file a petition to Mayor Justice. The signature with 50 percent of property owners are needed for the proposal to be put on the ballot during the next election. Lackens Branch is an old surface mining site that is situated behind Lowe’s. The city says that it needs the property to expand middle income housing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


East Ridge Senior Becomes Youngest Recipient of Prestigious Award

Natasha Wolford, a graduating senior from East Ridge High School became the youngest recipient of the Kentucky Foundation for Womens Arts Meets Activism Grant. Wolford received $2,000, the money go toward her college education. Wolford won the prestigious award, by creating a play on issues that young women face in today’s society. Wolford also received the Artist Collaborative Theatre Scholarship. Wolford was honored for her four years of accomplishments in theatre. She received the awards during a special ceremony at East Ridge High School


Johnson County Sheriff Needs Help in Gathering Names for Memorial.

Bill Witten, Johnson County Sheriff is turning to residents from his county for help. Witten along with the Johnson County Fiscal court, are working on a project that will honor police officers that perished in the line of duty. A memorial with the names of fallen officers will be erected. One of the most notable deaths in recent history came in 1992. Former Sheriff, Gene Cyrus was shot to death as he attempted to arrest Flem Burchett on a bench warrant. Names of individuals, along with information surrounding there deaths, can be submitted no later than June 30 to Sheriff Bill Witten, Law Enforcement Memorial, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, 339 Main Street , Paintsville,Ky, 41210.


Investigators Continue to Look Into the Cause Of a Fatal UTV Accident.

Authorities continue to investigate the cause of a wreck that led to the death of a Marion County man. According to the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, Randy Marshall,50, of Pentress,WV, was killed after the UTV that he was a passenger of went over an embankment on the Burning Fork Trail System ,located near Gilbert. The utility terrain vehicle was being driven by a 16 year–old minor. The UTV traveled 100 feet over the embankment , striking several trees. Sunday’s accident is only the fourth fatality in the seven year history of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System.


Threatning Phone Call Causes Dismissal of Several Mingo County Schools.

Students from several schools in Mingo County were sent home early Wednesday morning, after a threatening phone call was received by a Matewan business. According to the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department, a phone call was made to the North Matewan, Giovannis. The caller said that everyone in the high school was going to die. The caller never mentioned a name of any school. The call was received at 7:45 am. Students from Matewan, Williamson, Gilbert, Burch and Tug Valley High Schools along with Williamson and Matewan Middle Schools were evacuated. Members of the Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police searched the schools. There search found nothing. The Mingo County Board of Education decided to let students go home at 9:00 am.The sherriff’s department says that the caller id read blocked call. Police are attempting to trace the origin of the phone call. The Mingo County Sheriff's Department is conducting the investigation.


Two Pike Countians Pled Guilty.

Nathan Newsome pleaded guilty to four Class D felonies. The Virgie resident pleaded guilty to numerous charges including: stolen property, bail jumping and theft receiving. Newsome will be sentenced at a later date.

A co-defendant, Jennifer Coleman, of Shelbiana, pleaded guilty to theft, and theft by unlawful taking. The commonwealth is recommending five years probation and for her to pay restitution.


Four Drug Trials Scheduled for Next Monday in Pike County.

Four separate drug related trials are scheduled for next Monday in Pike County Circuit Court.

Kimberly Mullins, of Elkhorn City is accused of being in possession of drugs after being pulled over on a routine traffic stop.

James Shaffer Jr, of Stonecoal, will stand trial on one charge of first degree trafficking. Shaffer is accused of selling drugs to an undercover Unite Pike agent.

Anthony David Roberts, of Pikeville is charged with first degree drug trafficking. Roberts is accused of selling drugs to an undercover KSP.

Pete Hackney, of Pikeville will stand trial on two counts of second degree trafficking. Hackney is accused of selling hydrocodone to an undercover KBI agent.

Circuit Court Judge Eddy Coleman will preside over the trials.


Trial Set for Pikeville Woman Accused of Manslaughter

The trial of a Pike County woman that is charged with second degree manslaughter, will get underway next Tuesday, in Pike County Circuit Court. Rhonda Justice of Pikeville is accused of failing to properly supervise her son that resulted in his death. According to the indictment four year-old Joshua Justice was swimming in a neighbors pool in which he drowned. The incident occurred on April 1, 2004. If convicted by a jury, Justice faces 5-10 years behind bars.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Five Deaths on Kentucky Roadways During Holiday Weekend

Preliminary statistics indicate that five people perished in five separate car crashes on Kentucky’s roadways during the Memorial Day Weekend.

Single fatality car crashes occurred in Pike, Fayette, Pulaski, Owen and Todd counties.

During last years’ Memorial Day Weekend they were 14 crashes that resulted in 16 fatalities.

Through May 28, 322 lives have been lost on Kentucky’s roadways so far this year. This is seven fewer than reported for this time period in 2006.


Trial of a WV Woman Continues in Pike County

The trial of Yolanda Turner will continue Wednesday in Pike County Circuit Court. Turner is standing trial on charges of second degree burglary, second degree criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking. The Logan County, West Virginia resident faces five to fifteen years of prison time if convicted


Dorton Resident Pleads Guilty

The trial of a Pike County man abruptly ended Tuesday morning, after the defendant pled guilty. Christopher Barry Campbell pled guilty to a single count of second degree burglary. The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is recommending a prison sentence of five years. Campbell will be sentenced on June 29th by Circuit Court Judge Eddy Coleman. Campbell will remain lodged in the Pike County Detention Center as he awaits sentencing.


Paintsville High Grad Received Scholarship

Paintsville High School Graduate, Nick DeGuzman, was awarded a scholarship from the Kentucky Data Seams Initiative. Only 10 scholarships were issued statewide by the company. The Johnson Countian, plans to major in biology while studying pre-med at the University of Louisville. DeGuzman will receive $2,000 a year while pursing his undergraduate degree.


Mingo County's Unemployment Rate Decreases Slightly

Jobless rate, for the month of April has been released for West Virginia. The state average fell slightly from 4.9 percent to 4.6.

Mingo, Boone, McDowell, saw slight improvements. Logan and Wayne Counties saw no change. Wyoming County had a slight gain.

Here is a list of county’s in our local area, the first figure is for the month of April. The second number is for the month of March

Mingo: 5.6% from 5.4%
Logan: 5.2% unchanged
Wayne: 4.7 % unchanged
Wyoming: 6.3% from 6.4%
Boone 4.9% from 4.8%
McDowell 7.5% from 7.9%.


Jobless Rate Fell for Pike and Surrounding Counties

Unemployment figures for the Commonwealth’s 120 counties have been released for the month of March. Despite seeing a drop in unemployment, Pike, Martin, Johnson and Floyd remain above the state average of 5.8 percent.

Pike County has an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, which is a decrease of one percent. Martin County’s rate fell from 9 percent to 8.2 percent. Johnson County’s unemployment rate fell from eight percent to 6.5 . Floyd County saw a decrease from 8.2 percent to 7 percent.

Woodford County’s rate of 3.9 percent is the lowest. The highest was recorded by Jackson County, 14 percent. Magoffin County has the third highest unemployment rate of 11.8 percent. Wolfe County has the fourth highest unemployment rate of 11.5.


A Federal Grand Jury Recommends Death for Two Mingo Residents

A federal grand jury has sentenced two Mingo Co residents found guilty of the 2005 murder of Carla Collins. The 33 year-old was working undercover as a drug informant.

George Lecco, 57, of Red Jacket and Valerie Friend, 44 of North Matewan, face execution after the jury came to the unanimous decision Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors said Lecco asked Friend to kill Collins, who was providing information to a federal drug task force. Lecco ordered the killing so he could protect his cocaine ring that was being ran out of his Red Jacket Pizza Parlor. Investigators’ found Collins’ body in a shallow grave at Newtown, not far from the burned-out remains of an abandoned trailer where she was shot and beat to death. West Virginia abolished the death penalty in 1963. Federal prosecutors indicted Friend and Lecco with federal murder charges which carry the death penalty.

Lecco and Friend will be formally sentenced on August 23rd.


Floyd County Fundraiser Could Help Save Your Life

The Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad have found a fundraiser that will also save lives. For a donation of $100.00, citizens will receive a “911 strobe light”. And, what is that you ask? It’s a strobe light you mount outside your home and after you dial 911 it acts as a beacon, guiding rescue personnel to your location. Finding an address in distress is sometimes a difficult thing, but, the wireless strobe, with battery backup, will make that job much easier.


Fire Truck Dedicated in Memory of Fallen Trooper.

A special dedication took place at the Hatfield Volunteer Fire Department. The department purchased a new fire truck and they gave it special treatment. They dedicated it to the memory of a Kentucky State Police Trooper killed in an automobile accident five months ago. Trooper Johnathan Leonard was praised and remembered for his service and dedication to his community. Trooper Leonard had been a member of the Kentucky State Police for three years

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Renovation Work to Black Gem Park is Nearing Completion.

Since 2004 the Pike County Fiscal Court has been developing the baseball and soccer fields at Black Gem Park. Through state funding and volunteer and cash contributions from businesses the finishing touches to the facility could be done by this week. The park is located off US 119 at Goody. District Six Magistrate, Chris Harris says that the Fiscal Court received $50,000 of coal severance money for the project. Harris says that Massey Energy provided equipment and manual labor so the soccer field could be level and ready to use for soccer season. Work was also done to the parking lot and improvements on lighting to the facility were also made. Harris added that other coal companies have pledged financial support to the facility. Mike Blackburn, president of Massey’s Lauren Land Company, said Massey is happy to help. Massey added that they are making plans to help out by upgrading another recreational facility, Grants Branch Park at McVeigh


Special Meetings to Focus on School Closures.

The Mingo County Board of Education will hold special meetings this week at different venues. The first meeting will be held Tuesday, May 29th 6pm at the Mingo County Career Center. If necessary another public meeting will be held the next night at the career center.

Members of the Board of Education will hold a public meeting this Thursday inside the gymnasium of Gilbert High School. If necessary another meeting will be held the next evening. The purpose of the meeting is to talk about the possible closure of the career center and Gilbert High School. The public will have an opportunity to voice there opinion. The proposed consolidation plan is to close Williamson, Gilbert, Matewan and Burch High Schools and the Mingo County Career Center to form a Mingo County Comprehensive high School. Mingo Co Superintendent Dwight Dials says the enrollment of the new school would be around 900 students. Dials added that site preparation for the school should be completed by the first of October. The school would be located between Varney and Taylorville. Ground breaking for the facility could happen as early as next year.


Williamson City Council to Hold Several City Wide Meetings.

Residents of Williamson will have the opportunity to speak with members of city council at several meetings that have been scheduled. All meetings will begin at 6pm. May 31, residents of Ward three will meet at Goodman Manor. June 12, Ward one will meet at Williamson Towers. July 10, at the Harry Joyce Center for residents that live in the second Ward. August 14, Ward four residents will meet at the West End Community Center


Williamson City Council Members Have More Money To Work With.

Williamson City Council found out some good news late last week. The city has more money to work with. City Clerk Francis Frye informed council members that the city has amassed $33,000 more in revenue than projected. Collecting past garbage dues netted the city $30,000. Coal severance tax money contributed another $3,000. The majority of the surplus will go back into the city garbage system


Pedestrian Dies After Being Struck by Car.

A Pike County man has died from injuries that he sustained from being hit by a car. According to a press release from the Kentucky State Police, Crit Case was attempting to walk across the northbound lanes Of US 23 at Virgie. The 66 year-old was struck by a vehicle driven by 43 year-old Ricky Branham. Branham and a passenger 43 year-old Karen Branham was transported to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. The incident occurred Saturday night. No citations were issued.

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